Books et al.Plant Science

The beauty of botanicals

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Science  22 Jan 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6271, pp. 346
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad9074

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No doubt we all stop on occasion to admire a spectacular plant such as a glamorous rose blushing in a neighbor's garden or a sugar maple ablaze with color in autumn. Less often do we stop to do what the eminent British nature writer Richard Mabey exhorts in The Cabaret of Plants: to cease thinking of plants simply as pleasurable sights and useful objects and to instead appreciate them as "vital, autonomous beings" that conduct their affairs with little regard for human concerns. Whether depicting the bizarre, the beautiful, or something else altogether, this book provides ample opportunities to pause and share the wonder of many past plant observers—and to take a step toward being the kind of plant appreciator whose existence appears increasingly endangered.